Bibb lettuce, also known in some places as Boston, butterhead, or limestone lettuce, is a leafy green that is cultivated as a food source. It is known for its distinctive creamy flavor and crisp, crunchy texture. Bibb leaves tend to be very tender and spoil easily, and they are best eaten fresh. This type of lettuce grows well in most places, but can be hard to transport because of how easily it bruises and spoils. It is often more expensive than other lettuce varieties for this reason, but cooks prize it for its superior flavor and are often willing to splurge in order to add it to their meals or signature dishes.
Cooks use this type of lettuce most frequently for salads. Its mild flavor makes it an excellent accompaniment to many different flavors, but some of the most popular pairings include fish, particularly tuna and salmon, and fruits like apple and mandarin orange. The leaves can be used as a base to raw vegetable salads and can also be mixed with other greens to create a dynamic mix. Whole leaves are sometimes used on sandwiches, too, particularly those incorporating bold flavors like mustard and chutney.
Preparing Bibb lettuce requires a gentle touch because the leaves, though stiff, can bruise easily. Bruised leaves are not necessarily bad to eat, but they don’t usually taste as fresh or have quite the same flavor. Most cooks treat heads gingerly, removing leaves one at a time and rinsing them in a shallow pot of water rather than holding them under a faucet. They should be patted dry, then either used immediately or kept refrigerated. Salad experts often recommend layering washed lettuce leaves between clean tea towels in the refrigerator’s crisper in order to preserve their taste and texture.
Bibb lettuce is very low in calories and contains no fat. It is generally considered a “diet neutral” food for people watching their weight since it doesn’t really have anything harmful or fattening in it. In fact, it actually contains trace elements of some important minerals, like folate, vitamin A, and dietary fiber.
Recipes using Bibb Lettuce